WASHINGTON – Beginning with his tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries of origin, President Donald Trump’s ongoing barrage of vitriol against the freshman lawmakers known as “the Squad” has dominated headlines.
Many political observers believe it is part of a deliberate strategy to make the four women – who hail from their party’s progressive wing and whose views critics say are left of the political mainstream – the face of the Democratic Party. Though many Americans have still never heard of the four Democratic House members, a CBS News poll released this week does show that those who are familiar with them don’t tend to view them favorably.
The poll, conducted from July 17-19 by YouGov, asked 2,099 adults of their views on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Ocasio-Cortez had the highest favorable rating at 23%, followed by Omar at 19%, Tlaib at 18% and Pressley at 17%.
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But Ocasio-Cortez also had the highest unfavorable rating at 37%. Thirty-six percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of Omar, while 34% said the same of Tlaib and 28% saw Pressley unfavorably. The number of respondents who had a neutral view came in the same for all four congresswomen at 19%.
A large share of the respondents said they had never heard of the women. Thirty-six percent did not know who Pressley was, 29% had not heard of Tlaib, 26% were unfamiliar with Omar and 21% did not know Ocasio-Cortez.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3%.
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But “the Squad” did not fare much worse than congressional leadership.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was seen favorably by 16% of respondents while 40% held an unfavorable opinion of him, 26% were neutral and 18% said they had never heard of him.
Only 12% had a favorable view of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., while 25% saw him unfavorably, 28% were neutral and 34% had never heard of him.
Twenty-three percent had a favorable view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while 44% saw her unfavorably, 24% were neutral and 9% had not heard of her.
Trump was seen favorably by 36% of respondents, unfavorably by 51% and neutrally by 11%. Two percent said they had never heard of him. Forty-six percent said he was doing a good job as president while 54% thought he was doing a bad job.
The poll, which was conducted after the president’s tweets had been condemned as racist in a House resolution, found that 87% of Americans believe the country is divided along racial lines. A majority (53%) said Trump “tries to put the interests of whites over racial minorities,” while 48% said the same of the Republican Party as a whole. Forty-one percent said the Democratic Party puts the “interests of racial minorities over whites.”
Sixty-nine percent said they disagreed with Trump’s tweets telling the congresswomen – all of whom are American citizens and three of whom were born in the U.S. – to go back to their countries of origin and fix the problems there before trying to legislate change in the U.S. Forty-eight percent said the tweets were racist and 34% said they were not. Fifty-five percent said they were unpresidential and the same number felt they were unnecessary.
A USA TODAY/Ipsos poll last week found that 68% of Americans thought Trump’s tweets were offensive and 59% felt they were un-American.
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